Maple Pecan Pancake Cupcakes


I love brunch, and I love cupcakes. So why not make a cupcake for brunch?! I think everyone is happier with a little sugar in the morning. I was originally inspired by this recipe, but made a few changes to the cupcake base by using buttermilk, and adding candied nuts to the cupcake batter.

Maple Pecan Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup toasted, candied pecans
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Maple Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Buttermilk Pancake Topper:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons butter, melted

Yield: 12 cupcakes

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Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in buttermilk, and maple syrup. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, stirring until the batter is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out on to a wire rack to cool before frosting. I ended up making a double batch, and decided to also make blueberry pancake cupcakes! After I had used half the batter to bake the maple pecan cupcakes, I added 1 cup of blueberries to the remaining batter.


As the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. Combine butter, maple syrup, milk and half of the confectioners sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium-high speed until smooth. Add remaining sugar in gradually until frosting is thick enough to spread easily. Frost the cupcakes using a large star tip.

For the pancake topper, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended together – do not over stir! Pour the batter onto a lightly greased pan, using approximately 1 tablespoon for each mini pancake. I could cook about six pancakes in my pan at a time. Brown on both sides, then place on a wire rack to cool.


Once all the pancakes have cooled, top each cupcake with three pancakes, and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle maple syrup over the pancakes, and place a tiny, cold, cube of butter on the top the pancake stack.


Note: I topped the blueberry cupcakes with a blueberry reduction (1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 maple syrup). The winner at the end of the day? It was a toss up. People couldn’t decide which one was better. I think the group consensus was that the star of the show was the frosting 😀

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding (Dairy Free)

If anyone else had asked me to make dairy free banana pudding, I would have laughed. But it was Robert’s birthday, and he’s been one of my best friends since we were four. So after a lot of research, I was able to alter my favorite banana pudding recipe (a Magnolia Bakery copy-cat recipe) and cut out the dairy. Did I have to make my own sweetened condensed (coconut) milk?? Yes, yes I did. The ingredients I used included:

Sweetened Condensed Milk:

  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, honey or light agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional but adds good flavor)

Banana Pudding:

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (made above)
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 1 3.4 ounce box Jell-O instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 12 ounce box vanilla wafers (broken up slightly)
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
  • 3 cup cool whip

Yield: 6 servings


To make the sweetened condensed milk, place the coconut milk, sweetener of choice, and brown sugar into a saucepan and whisk gently over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. This will help the solid bits of coconut milk melt and incorporate with the sugar. When the mixture is just beginning to bubble around the edges, reduce the heat to the low. Set a timer for 45 minutes (you may need to go a bit longer depending on your stove) and simmer uncovered, whisking every 5-10 minutes to release steam and aid in evaporation. The mixture will half in volume, and should be quite thick. You will also notice that it is a darker color. Remove from heat, stir thoroughly, and pour into a glass jar or container. Cool in the refrigerator. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

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Once the sweetened condensed milk is made, you can begin on the pudding. In a medium bowl (or using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) whisk together the cooled sweetened condensed milk, and ice cold water, until blended.  Add pudding mix continue to whisk into fully incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 3 hours (or you can leave overnight).

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Once pudding has set, fold the cool whip into the pudding, until completely blended.  In your serving bowl (or individual serving jars), begin layering broken vanilla wafers, then bananas, then pudding.  Repeat 2 times, or as many times you need/like to fit your desired serving dish.  Garnish pudding with additional wafers or wafer crumbs, cover with plastic wrap and chill for an additional 4 hours.


The final result?? Pretty close to the real thing! The texture was great, but there was definitely a hint of coconut. I was pleasantly surprised, and like to think of it as a tropical banana pudding. Hopefully the birthday boy will enjoy it too! I layered the pudding a glass cup, and in mason jars. The presentation is a lot better in a cup, but storage and transport are a lot more manageable in mason jars.

Cheesecake Swirled (Black Bean) Brownies


I have been feeling relatively adventurous in my kitchen lately, and decided it was time to expand my baking repertoire. These cheesecake swirled black bean brownies are a wonderful balance between a healthy treat and indulgence. And I SWEAR, the black beans are undetectable. The ingredients include:

Brownie Base:

  • 3 cups black beans
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder — dutch or regular
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup agave syrup
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Swirl:

  • 2 (8 oz.) Packages of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Yield: 28 medium sized brownies

Calories: 230 per piece

Protein: 7 grams


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Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased, foiled, 9×13 pan.

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In a large bowl, combine all the fillings for the cheesecake swirl. Mix on a medium speed with a hand mixer, until all ingredients are incorporated. The mixture should be relatively thick. Pour this over the brownie batter, and gently drag a knife up and down the pan. Once done creating the swirl marks, place brownies in oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then let cool before cutting. For more precise cuts, use unflavored dental floss!

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The brownies were EXCELLENT!! The beans give the brownie a wonderfully thick, fudgy texture…which is just how I like my brownies! The cheesecake also helps jazz them up, and no one had a clue what the “secret indredient” was! I will definitely be baking with black beans in the future 😀

Classic Carrot Cake

When my coworker said she’d like a carrot cake for her birthday, I was elated. Carrot cake is one of my favorite types of cake, and I don’t get requests for it very often! I used my favorite carrot cake recipe, and went a little wild decorating. The ingredients include:

Cake Base:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated carrot
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream

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Begin by lining and lightly greasing three eight-inch, round, cake pans. Set the pans aside. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla at a medium speed, until fully incorporated. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

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While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Cream together the butter and cream cheese, then slowly ix in the powdered sugar in several installments, on a low speed. Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, add in the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream. Mix at a low speed until fully combined. Once the cakes have cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.


Place the cake in the fridge to allow the frosting to firm up, and use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons from a large carrot. Using uniform slices of carrot, create a bow on top of the cake. If desired, you can also add side “ribbons” to the cake to complete the look.


Elvis Cupcakes – Browned Butter, Bananas, Bourbon, Peanut Butter, & BACON


After a discussion at work about the commonality of the name Elvis, I was inspired to make Elvis cupcakes! The main flavor components of this recipe are browned butter, bananas, bourbon, peanut butter, and bacon. The key to tying all the flavors together is the bacon! Browning the butter for the cake batter in bacon grease infuses the cupcakes with that delicious, bacon flavor. What more could a girl ask for in a cupcake?! The ingredients include:

Yield – 36 mini cupcakes, or 18 large cupcakes

8 ounces bacon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
4 large bananas, mashed

Begin by cooking the bacon until crispy. Leave the grease in the pan, and let the bacon cool on paper towels. Melt the butter in the same pan, and cook until it has browned to an amber color. Take a 1/2 cup of this butter/bacon fat mixture, and set aside to cool slightly.

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Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your mini muffin tins with papers. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside. In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg and brown sugar.  Mix in the vanilla, sour cream, and cooled brown butter. Gradually stir in the the dry ingredients. Add in the mashed bananas, and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be thick.

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  If making mini-cupcakes, bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp of bourbon
1/4 cup cream

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While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, thoroughly mixing between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and bourbon. Add the cream to reach the desired piping consistency. Use a large around tip to pipe a swirl on each cooled cupcake.

Bourbon drizzle (optional)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 bourbon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Once the frosting is ready, make the bourbon drizzle. Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan, and heat at a medium low level, until all the sugar has dissolved into a thick syrup. Allow this to cool slightly before drizzling over each frosted cupcake.

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I used a large star tip to frost the cupcakes, and topped each cupcake with a piece of cooked bacon. I had a little snafu with my bourbon drizzle….I got distracted while frosting my cupcakes and it burned!! I still think it would be a really great addition to these cupcakes, and recommend making it.

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Despite the strong flavors that are combined in this recipe, the end product is wonderfully balanced. There is the salty sweet combination between the bananas, the peanut butter, and the bacon. The bacon also adds a key textural component. I think the King would have approved 😀